Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Six Feet Under Post. About a Year Late.

During the next to final season of Six Feet Under I fell out of love with the Fishers and cancelled my HBO subscription. With Sex & The City going bye bye and HBO seemingly uninterested in reaching that demographic anymore (all their shows outside of 6FU being very roughhouse guy / frathouse ish) I figured why pay?

This abrupt dismissal of my favorite television family post-Once & Again was due to two things primarily: first there was that sadistic atypical episode in which David was kidnapped and tortured by a john... and how it went from being a show about three families with some fascinating psychologies to three families without a single sane person amongst their ever expanding number. A little insanity and depression was fascinating/fun/revealing. A whole lot of looney was just annoying/sad/redundant.

I am a completist to some extent so I knew I'd eventually give the last season a chance. And here I am finally watching it. (Just finished the famous "NARM!" episode --I'm about halfway through the season I think? ) So why am I writing about it now? Well this is all a very long way of giving a shout out to an actress I really like, Tina Holmes, who no one ever talks about and no casting director ever casts for roles of any weight --just guest spots. What gives?

I first fell (hard) for Tina Holmes playing an unwilling faghag in her film debut The Edge of Seventeen which opened in the summer of 99 in very limited release. If you haven't seen it it's worth renting. A lot of indie gay movies are sloppy, low budget, shallow, etc... This one is great. It's about the messy painful memorable coming of age/coming out process. And it does all of that while also painting a funny true portrait of life as a midwestern teenager in the 1980s (trust me I would know). Anyway, Tina is superb in the movie. It's her first film or television role and she just nails it, totally grounding the movie in raw emotional accuracy as the confused yanked around girlfriend of a gay teen (played by Chris Stafford, who apparently has quit acting and gone to law school. Shame.) After seeing this film I expected a big career for Ms. Holmes. Instead there's just been TV guest spots. I was thrilled to see her added to the Six Feet Under lineup, a show which has always given female guest stars great material on which to chew. Illeana Douglas, Kathy Bates, Patricia Clarkson, Catherine O'Hara... they've all had lots of fun with their dips into the Six Feet Under water.

This post is directed at casting directors everywhere: This actress is a keeper so please find her work. She blends into ensembles with ease and she has a beautifully grounded and wistful screen presence. Plus, you can hang really layered emotional material on her and she will never misstep. GIVE THIS WOMAN WORK!

That is all.

P.S. I found the 6FU photo of Tina Holmes on this blog Thoughts on Stuff and swiped it. But he has a long post just about Tina's character "Maggie" which you can click over to read if you miss Six Feet Under.

tags: movies, television, Six Feet Under, Tina Holmes, HBO


Anonymous said...

I feel you on the SFU assessment. Loved the show when it first began, became increasingly bored with it as it progressed, and grew downright tired of it by the end. Hated the seemingly cruel, callous and selfish Fisher brothers -- and the mother was batshit crazy -- but enjoyed the interesting character arcs of Claire and Brenda, both of whom grew up a lot in the course five seasons. Loathed the Nate-Maggie affair (while Brenda was pregnant!), but oddly enough not the Maggie character. There was just something about her that was hard to peg but easy to like. Plus, she wore some of the sexiest panties I have ever seen before in the "Narm" scene.


Joe R. said...

Nat, if you've given up on HBO as a whole, at least find a way to give Big Love a look when the first season hits DVD. It's so good, and it's completely turned me around on Chloe Sevigny (if not Bill Paxton). And Ginnifer Goodwin is fantastic. And the peripheral cast is just superb.

Also, re: Edge of Seventeen (which I haven't seen yet) -- does Stevie Nicks allow the film to use her music? Because you know that's what ruined Gypsy 83 for me.

And: check back in once you've hit the 6FU finale. Colored my opinion of the entire last season.


i love BIG LOVE --or at least the 3 episodes i got to see at a friends. so i will definitely check that out once DVD comes around.

But until they have another sex& the city instead of just Sopranos and Sopranos in the Old West and Frat Boys in Hollywood... i'm not paying ;)

adam k. said...

I LOVE Edge of Seventeen... wish I'd had a coming-of-age experence like that. And Tina Holmes was fabulous. Wasn't she being compared to a young Meryl Streep in reviews for that film? She really does need to get more work.

Anonymous said...

I feel like the very last episode will turn your end of the series hate into love. It was simply AMAZING. The last 15 minutes made me fall deeper in love with the Fishers (esp. Claire). Please make a post again after you watch it! And maybe write in how underappreciated Lauren Ambrose is as well!

Anonymous said...

I was an avid 6FU watcher for the first two seasons. I watched with my best friend. And then she stopped watching because the show got boring and was full of rehashed plotlines, but I kept watching because I thought the acting was fantastic and Lauren Ambrose is a delight.

Anyway, I fell in love with the last season. It was fantastic. You only have three episodes after the NARM episode, so you should post again after you've watched those. The season finale is so amazing. I think Lauren Ambrose and Frances Conroy should both get acting nominations with Frances Conroy winning. Holy crap, they were both so good.

Anonymous said...

The first three seasons of Six Feet Under conform quite possibly the finest drama series to ever grace television. I've yet to see a show that covers the emotional, philosophical, intellectual, social, cultural and plain existential terrain with the intelligence, originality, audacity and emotional resonance the way Six Feet Under did. The third season in particular, I found to be an astonishing achievement; more challenging and emotionally gripping than anything else I've seen on TV...which made the fourth season all the more disappointing. The beauty of Six Feet Under is that its darkness and turmoil give in to beautifully conveyed insight about life, death and relationships with newfound wisdom and growth for both the characters and the audience, but in Season 4 seemed less illuminating and more sensationalistic and extreme in its drama. Not to say that there weren't moments that didn't have the insight and emotional honesty of the first three seasons, but they were far and fewer in between. It was also sad to see the show fall into soap opera land with its season finale twist being ridiculously over-the-top and totally unbelievable and contrived. I really wasn't ready to give up on the Fishers as I had become to attached to them, and fortunately, the fifth season proved to be a fine return to form for the show. The dramatic excesses of season 4 were turned down quite a few notches and the offbeat humor of the first couple of seasons and emotional subtlety of the third was recaptured. The show went out on a very high note; I thought the last 5 episodes or so were probably the best run the show ever had, and the finale itself was one of the best things I've ever seen on television.

So yeah, Season 4 was a low point, but when you consider Seasons 1-3 and 5, the bad is EASILY outweighted by the good. I still maintain that this is one of the very best shows ever made.

par3182 said...

I loved how Six Feet Under was able to recover from its underwhelming penultimate season and really hit its stride in the final season, making the end so incredibly satisfying.

If only Buffy had been able to do that...

Ramification said...

Its amazing how divisive that episode of David being kidnapped is, I thought it was one of the best episodes of the entire run of the show, but I know that it turned off many viewers. Tina Holmes rocks in it, I hope the casting directors are reading this blog!

Sid said...

I loved the first two seasons but I think season 3 was the finest season for any show in Television history... when it was horribly snubbed by the Emmys. Anyway, I'm still waiting to see the last season... have heard it's great. How are you finding it so far?

Anonymous said...

See, for me Edge of Seventeen was the one that finally convinced me I should never watch another queer film. I've been that much happier since.

As for SFU, I adored the first 2 seasons, was mildly disappointed by the 3rd, angered and thoroughly let down by the 4th, but I'm almost all the way through the 5th season and this is back to being my favorite series of all time. I think we have about two more episodes to go in Australia, and at this rate I think this last season has a chance at turning out the best of the 5. Every single episode has been gripping, haunting and deeply moving. Lately I've been feeling so attached to the Fishers and co, I'll probably be depressed for weeks after the show finishes.

I don't remember Tina Holmes from Edge of Seventeen (or anywhere else for that matter), but I've been impressed by how fragile and natural and unself-conscious her acting has been. She's all the more impressive for holding her own against the likes of Frances Conroy and Rachel Griffiths, who every week prove they are two of the finest actresses working today. Also, I'm glad to see that Lauren Ambrose is back in form after a shaky 4th season. She has a big production number in the 5th which she totally nails.

Anonymous said...

sid said:

"I loved the first two seasons but I think season 3 was the finest season for any show in Television history..."

WORD. Season 3 was amazing. Even more daring, challenging and haunting than the admittedly terrific first two seasons. "Nobody Sleeps", "Twilight" and "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost" are three of the most powerful hours of television I've seen. It is the peak of the show, as far as I'm concerned; along with the second half of Season 5.